Thailand News Update | Adjustments for the revised Test & Go announced today!

Changes to the revised Test & Go will be discussed by the CCSA and hopefully announced today.

A few leaks indicate that the Test & Go program will indeed be reintroduced but there will be a tightening up of aspects of the program. If the rumors are true, arrivals will undergo two PCR tests in their first seven days, the first when travelers arrive and the second on the fifth or sixth day.

The Ministry of Public Health also suggested yesterday that overseas visitors will need to take out comprehensive health insurance which covers all Covid-19 eventualities. The Department’s Permanent Secretary announced yesterday that visitors should ensure they are fully covered for all types of Covid-19 treatment.

The good plan for a restart of the Test & Go program, which only requires one night in an SHA+ hotel while you wait for your arrival test results, is for early February. The Thaiger will bring you all the details and the latest decisions from the CCSA meeting as they come in with full coverage on Thailand News Today with Jett.

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Phuket officials are promising a major crackdown on foreigners on the island, flouting the country’s rules on face masks.

After several warnings, the police will now take legal action against foreigners who do not wear their face masks in public. Phuket’s immigration chief called on authorities to strictly enforce regulations set by the local communicable disease committee which required masks to be worn at all times in public areas.

Phuket has repeatedly tried to remind tourists and foreigners on the island of the face mask mandate, but many of their efforts have fallen on deaf ears as many foreigners defiantly ignore the rules, refusing to wear their masks.

Law enforcement teams will now focus on major tourist spots which are busy and pose high risks of transmission, particularly areas in Patong and major drags along Bangla Road. And, according to the immigration boss, when they catch people without masks in public, the penalties will be increased.

Thailand’s Communicable Diseases Act allows for a penalty of up to 20,000 baht and a year in jail, while the emergency decree doubles the potential fine and jail term… so far most offenders received a warning and a slap on the wrist.

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Great confusion persists after government officials cleaned up the mess after a press conference hosted by the public health minister last week. Although the minister’s intention was to clarify the latest moves to decriminalize cannabis in Thailand, many remain even more confused as to the exact legal position regarding the Thai public planting marijuana in their homes.

Now Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam has stepped in to say he has spoken to the Minister of Health about discussions with the Narcotics Control Board to change the rules regarding the legal position of cannabis and the use of marijuana.

The Deputy Prime Minister was directly asked if Thai people should go ahead and plant marijuana in their backyard.

Wissanu replied that, for now, they should refrain from planting their own cannabis crop.

The Narcotics Control Board said it would try to clarify the exact situation with changes to the laws in the coming days.

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There has been a lot of interest in the new 10-year visas for so-called wealthy foreigners and digital nomads.

The government continues to beat the same old drum that a few big-spending tourists should trump dozens of budget-conscious unwanted tourists who flocked to Thailand before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Interior are already working on drafting regulations for a long-term visa allowing highly skilled digital nomads and wealthy expatriates to stay in Thailand long-term. They say attracting these high-quality tourists will lead to economic stimulus and investment.

For now, we will just have to wait for the details regarding these new visas. Inevitably, there will be comparisons to the current range of Elite visas, and so far it looks like the options are much cheaper.

The four categories are Digital Nomads, Highly Skilled Professionals, Wealthy Global Citizens (not really clearly defined at this point), and Wealthy Retirees.

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So what is the population of Thailand. At the end of last month, there is actually an official issue…. 66 million 171 thousand 439.

This figure represents just under 1% of the world’s population. Of this population, 973,000,656 are non-Thai nationals,

and the rest, some 65 million 197,000,783 are from Thailand.

Bangkok, by far the most populous province in Thailand, has recorded 5 million 527,000,994 people officially residing in the megacity.

The number is well below typical estimates for the Thai capital of between 10 and 12 million, highlighting the vast floating population that moves in and out of the metropolis daily.

The 5 most populous provinces reveal that the northeast and north of Thailand are much more populated than the south and west of the country.

The population of some 66.2 million people is around 4.5% lower than the 2018 population estimate of 69.5 million. But, with Thailand sharing loose land borders with Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, it will remain impossible to count Thailand’s actual population.

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Commerce Department puts chickens and chicken meat on state price control list and rolls out tougher measures for chicken farmers and slaughterhouses, requiring them to report selling costs and inventory in as part of efforts to deal with rising food prices.

The Central Goods and Services Price Committee has approved management measures for chicken farmers with more than 100,000 poultry and chicken slaughterhouses with a capacity of more than 4,000 chickens per day to declare the quantity, stocks and their selling costs each month.

Yesterday the minister thanked chicken farmers and producers who recently agreed to cooperate with the ministry’s request to freeze chicken prices for the time being.

Meanwhile, the Department of Domestic Commerce is warning other industries to avoid jumping on the inflation bandwagon and simply raising prices to take advantage of the situation.

There are currently 51 items on the state price control list, 46 of which are considered commodities.

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Regionally, a tricky few weeks lie ahead for China as it fights to remain the last major country in the world to pursue a zero-Covid-19 policy. The Chinese New Year holiday is only two weeks away, when many usually go home to see their families, and then there is the opening of the Winter Olympics on February 4.

Parts of the country are now grappling with a new wave of Covid-19 cases, triggered by the deadlier Delta strain of the coronavirus as well as the less severe but highly transmissible Omicron variant.

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